Some of the best and biggest pumpkin displays across the country are putting on spectacular outdoor and drive-through displays this year. 

By Andrea Beck
Updated August 20, 2020

A good ol' fashioned trip to the pumpkin patch is a favorite fall activity, but the pumpkin patch has nothing on these spectacular pumpkin displays. Each year, we marvel at these extravagant displays of pumpkins and lights. And while a few of our favorite events have been canceled due to the pandemic, there are several outdoor and drive-through options you can visit this year. 

You may consider pumpkin carving a fun activity for the kids rather than a medium for serious artistry, but these grand displays are sure to impress even the toughest critic. From highly-detailed carving designs to huge moving structures, these pumpkin exhibitions are designed to bring communities together for some seasonal magic.

See our top picks to find a pumpkin festival near you. If you attend an outdoor event, be sure to stay six feet from the other visitors, wear a mask (here are a few you can buy), and always have hand sanitizer with you. If you opt for a drive-through option, keep your windows rolled up and bring along some tasty pumpkin-themed snacks for the drive.

Courtesy of Angie Gaul for Historic Hudson Valley

The Great Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze, Hudson Valley, NY

Skyscraping structures, bright lights, and a new spectacle around every corner make this pumpkin experience reminiscent of a trip to New York City. Sights to see include the pumpkin carousel, giant sea serpent, color-changing star show at the Pumpkin Planetarium, and a replica of Lady Liberty herself. But don’t miss out on the small details amid the large-scale spectacles—a team of artisans design and hand carve over 7,000 jack-o’-lanterns on-site for the display. While the event is outside, tickets are extremely limited this year in order for guests to properly social distance at the event, and all tickets must be reserved ahead of time. All the proceeds from The Great Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze support the programs of Historic Hudson Valley, a non-profit education organization.

When to visit: September 18 through November 21

Courtesy of Dallas Arboretum

Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas, TX

With the colorful Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden setting the scene, this pumpkin village uses all the elements of seasonal beauty. More than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash become elaborate houses and whimsical structures that seem to be pulled straight out of a fairy tale—because sometimes that’s exactly the inspiration. Each year debuts a new theme for the village, with past years including Cinderella, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Adventures in Neverland. This year’s theme is "The Art of the Pumpkin," which celebrates the classic pumpkin decorating tradition. Tickets for the Arboretum start at $15.

When to visit: September 19 through November 1

Courtesy of Trig Photography

Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI

The view of the Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular is exactly that—spectacular. The Halloween display at the Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of our favorite ways to experience the holiday, and this year the event has been turned into a drive-through holiday scene. Pile in the car for an awe-inspiring ride through thousands of illuminated pumpkins and professionally carved designs. Tickets are $50 per car (up to 7 people per vehicle) and can be purchased online

When to visit: October 1 through November 1

Courtesy of Louisville Parks Foundation

Louisville Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular, Louisville, KY

This jack-o'-lantern display is like a Halloween-themed fairy tale—but not the Brothers Grimm version. The Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular has also converted to a drive-through format for 2020. If you're in the Louisville area, hop in the car and take drive down the path lined with 5,000 carved and illuminated pumpkins at night for an enchanting experience. Tickets are $35 per vehicle and proceeds benefit the Louisville Parks Foundation

When to visit: October 1 through November 1

Courtesy of Shaundi Brown

Keene Pumpkin Festival, Keene, NH

The quaint New England town of Keene is characterized by things like old-fashioned candy shops, a retro movie theater, and the world record for the most lit jack-o’-lanterns on display. In addition to the record-breaking display of over 30,000 pumpkins, the free Pumpkin Festival offers family fun in the way of music and dance performances, arts and crafts, and activities like pumpkin bowling. The event staff has tentatively set the date for October 24, but they are currently monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic and may make changes as the date approaches. Check their website for up-to-date details before making the trip to Keene. 

When to visit: October 24 (tentatively)

Courtesy of The GLOW: A Jack-O’-Lantern Experience

Jack’s Pumpkin Glow, Various Locations

The triangle-eyed, squiggle-smiled jack-o’-lanterns are a well-loved classic, but these pumpkin structures turn up the volume. Strategically designed, arranged, and hand-carved pumpkins transform into fire-breathing dragons, dueling dinosaurs, motorcycle-riding skeletons, and more. You’ll also find a pumpkin patch and live pumpkin-carving demonstrations at the event. In the past, Jack’s Pumpkin Glow has had locations in Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, and Nashville, TN, but event coordinators are currently monitoring the safety regulations in each location and will announce location details as Halloween gets closer. Check their website for up-to-date locations and details before making arrangements to visit the event.

When to visit: Dates vary by location


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